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How to Improve Your Online Reputation

2022 Guide to Deleting Google Reviews

Mia Jensen | Jan. 14, 2022
How to delete Google reviews

Online reviews impact buyer decisions more than ever before - nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase. A product with 5 or more reviews has a 270% greater chance of being purchased than a product with no reviews.

The same goes for businesses, as 92% of people consider online reviews to be just as reliable as a personal recommendation. The more 5-star reviews you have, the better the chances a customer will choose you over your competition, so it’s not an understatement to say that reviews matter for getting more customers.

RECOMMENDED READING: 6 Ways Your Business Can Use Customer Reviews to Dominate Local Search

When someone posts a bad Google review that doesn’t accurately reflect your business, it can feel like a low blow. Unfortunately, you cannot remove negative Google reviews on your business yourself; but with our comprehensive guide, you’ll be able to manage and dispute reviews effectively to reflect your business in the best light.

This guide is in 9 sections

Part 1: The benefits of Google My Business. Part 2: Google’s Guidelines for removal: The 10 violations of Google’s Policy. Part 3: How to delete a review you left yourself. Part 4: How to remove a Google review. Part 5: How to accelerate the process. Part 6: How to spot a fake review. Part 7: Criticism and libel. Part 8: Why negative reviews can be good. Part 9: If all else fails.

Benefits of Google Business Profile

With Google Business Profile (GBP), you can register your business online so that whenever someone looks you up, your listing will appear as one of the top recommendations in your area. Your Google business listing can include your address, contact information and hours of operation. You can also post updates, photos and adjust your hours for the holidays to keep your customers in the loop with what’s new with your business.

By creating a GBP you can boost your local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so that you show up on the first page of search results. Almost all modern businesses have a Google Business Profile as it’s a significant factor in how customers find you.

In situations when a customer looks for “xyz business near me”, a GBP will give you the opportunity to be on that customer’s radar. Without it, your business is essentially invisible to internet users.

To learn more about how you can get started with your Google Business Profile, read our ultimate guide here: A Helpful Guide to Google My Business (GMB)
Google guidelines for removing reviews

Google has very specific guidelines of what reviews violate their Terms and Conditions. You can view Google's content policies here. Only reviews that explicitly violate any of the policies outlined below can be removed by a Google site administrator.

Google’s review policy outlines 10 content policy categories that are prohibited and restricted which violate their policy:

1. Spam and fake content.

→ Google has no tolerance for fake reviews, so they use an automated spam detection system to remove reviews that are most likely fake. If you come across a review that seems fake, you should review Google’s policies before flagging it to determine if your request for removal has merit.

→ Content that is posted to manipulate ratings is considered a violation of Google’s review terms. This includes posting the same content multiple times, or posting in one place multiple times from many different accounts. Your reviews should reflect the genuine experience of the reviewer during their visit to your location.

2. Off-topic content.

→ Off-topic content is generally anything that has nothing to do with the reviewer’s personal experience. This includes, but is not limited to, political/social commentary, or personal rants.

3. Restricted content.

→ Restricted content includes promotions of products or services that are subject to legal regulation. Restricted content includes the promotion of alcohol, gambling, guns, pharmaceuticals, adult services, tobacco, health and medical devices, and financial services. It should be noted that pictures of menus or images with alcoholic beverages present are not considered restricted.

4. Illegal content.

→ Any content that is illegal and/or depicts illegal activity will be removed by Google. This includes: images/content that infringes on someone else’s rights - notably copyright, abuse, endangered animal products, illegal drugs, etc.

5. Terrorist content.

→ Google strictly prohibits content related to terrorism, incitements of violence, calls for recruitment in these organizations, or commemoration of attacks.

6. Sexually explicit content.

→ Any content that contains sexually explicit materials and/or images will be taken down by Google, especially in regards to minors.

7. Offensive content.

→ Content that contains offensive, obscene or profane language or gestures will be removed by Google.

8. Dangerous and derogatory content.

→ Dangerous or derogatory content that threatens or advocates for harm on oneself or others. This also includes content that encourages discrimination (i.e. against race, ethnicity, religion, disability, etc).

9. Impersonation.

→ The impersonation of others or false representations for the purpose of deceiving or misleading other users will be removed by Google. Any reviews that falsely claim to represent another person will be taken down, unless you have permission to represent someone else, the company or organization.

10. Conflict of interest.

→ Business owners, employees (both current and former) and employees of competing businesses cannot leave dishonest or biased reviews of
a) Your own business
b) Of content about current or former employment experiences
c) Content about a competitor to manipulate their ratings.

To read more about how you can effectively deal with negative Google reviews, you can check out our Ultimate Guide to Responding to Negative Reviews here.
How to delete a Google review

If you’ve left a Google review yourself that you would like to delete, the process is simple.

As an alternative to deleting the review, Google also allows users to edit their reviews after they’ve been posted. As we’ve already outlined above, reviews are highly important for boosting local businesses, and if there is a way for you to keep your review but still change it to accurately reflect how you feel, keeping the changed review is a great option.

Here’s a step by step guide on how to delete your own Google reviews on Maps:

If it is a review you left, you can remove Google reviews from Maps by following these eight steps:

Step 1: Sign in to your Google account.

Step 2: Open Google Maps.

Step 3: Click Menu in the top left corner.
Google Maps menu options
Step 4: Click Your Contributions.
Google Maps contributions option
Step 5: Choose Reviews.
Step 6: Click “more” or the 3 vertical dots located on the right of the specific review you want to delete.
Google Maps more options
Step 7: Choose “Delete review” OR “Edit review” if you want to change your original review.
Google Maps edit or delete review
Step 8: Follow the instructions and click “Delete” to remove the review.
Google Maps delete review

Since business owners cannot remove the review themselves, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to flag a bad review for Google to take down:

How To Remove Bad Reviews From Google Maps:
Step 1: Sign in to your Google account.

Step 2: Open Google Maps.

Step 3: Search for your business.

Step 4: Choose to view your business reviews and select all reviews.
Google Maps menu
Step 5: When you see the review you want to remove, click the three dots in the top right corner and select “Flag as inappropriate.”
Google Maps menu
Step 6: Fill out the form and click “Report” to flag the review.
Google request reason
How To Remove Bad Reviews from Google Search:
Step 1: Search your business on Google.
Google Maps menu
Step 2: Go to “Reviews” and click the 3 vertical dots beside the review for the drop down menu.
Google Maps menu
Step 3: Click “Report review” and submit your request by choosing 1 of the options. Click “Report” and wait for Google to assess.
Google request reason
How to Flag a Review on Google Business Profile
Step 1: Log into your GBP
Google Maps menu
Step 2: Scroll down the side menu to “Reviews”
Google Maps menu
Step 3: Choose the review you would like to flag and click the 3 vertical dots on the right side of the review to open the drop down menu. Click “Flag as inappropriate”.
Google Maps menu
Step 4: Click the applicable reason for flagging the review and click “Report”. Wait for google to review the request for removal.
Google request reason

How to get more reviews

If you’ve already flagged the review using your GBP dashboard, you can also speed up the process by requesting a callback, chat, or emailing GBP support:

Step 1: On Google My Business, click Menu, scroll down and look for Support.
Google Maps menu
Step 2: A popup will appear, look for Contact Us, and click the button.
Google Maps menu
Step 3: Write a short description of the action you are trying to get help on - i.e. “deleting a fake review”.
Google Maps menu
Step 4: Choose the categories most relevant to your request. NOTE: Google will suggest information and community posts related to the situation for you to look at if you do not want to wait for Google’s response for support. If you do not want to read this information, you can scroll down and choose your preferred contact options.
Google Maps menu
Step 5: Choose from any of the three contact options: request callback, request chat, or email support.
Google Maps menu

You can also reach them at this link here.

If you are having trouble contacting Google, you can reach out to them via Twitter at @GoogleMyBiz or Facebook at @GoogleMyBusiness for further assistance.

How to spot a fake review

When determining whether a review is fake, you should consider multiple things to properly evaluate its authenticity. A negative opinion is not enough evidence, and Google will need more information about the negative review and reviewee to figure out if it’s worth taking down or not.

1. Your records don’t match up with the review

Issue: The first thing you want to check when verifying a review is to cross-reference it with your customer database. This is the most reliable way to determine whether or not the review is real, because if their profile matches the data you have on their experience, you can properly deal with the issue at hand with the information you have.

Solution: If your records don’t match up with their review, the best thing to do is to reply to the review with a respectful response and apology, and ask to speak to them directly to get more details about the situation. Speaking to them directly allows you to get more information that may be missing from the review.

You can explain in your response that you don’t have records of the situation and you would like to deal with it personally, so that other reviewers can see that this review is potentially fake. Another upside of responding is that it shows how much you care about giving the best customer service, even when the review isn’t the greatest.

2. False Information

Issue: If the information in the review does not add up or make sense to you, there could be the possibility that the review has false information. One thing to note is that if the review mentions products, services or people that you do not offer or employ, the review could have been mistakenly left on your business by accident. There are millions of businesses on Google My Business, and it’s possible that the reviewer may have mixed up your business for another.

Solution: In this case, you should respond to the review politely, inform the reviewer that you do not offer those services/products, and ask them if they are sure they left it on the right business profile. If they made a mistake, the reviewer will more than likely take down their review.

If the reviewer still insists that they left the review in the right place, then your best option is to both reach out privately for more information, and flag the review for Google to assess. False information violates Google’s review policy, so you have grounds for removing the review.

3. Generic comments or unnatural language.

Another way to determine whether or not a review is fake is if someone leaves generic comments in their post. Especially with bad reviews, an upset customer will most likely go into a fair amount of detail to highlight their experience. But, if a bad review has generic comments like “was bad” and “not great”, or has many spelling mistakes and typos, this could be an indication of spam.

Additionally, if the reviewer uses unnatural language such as writing the full name of your company or product (i.e. “2021 Kia Sportage LX FWD in Silver”) multiple times throughout the review, then this can also be another indicator of spam.

4. Check their review history with other suspicious reviews.

A user’s review history is also a great way to verify if the reviewer is coming from a place of honesty. Many people who use their accounts to leave reliable reviews will often have a small “local guide” badge on their profile.

Issue: If a user’s review history shows a pattern of negativity, dishonesty, or a general lack of past reviews, then the likelihood of their profile being real lessens. The time frame of reviews being posted from their profile can also be an indication of the validity of their profile.

Someone who has reviewed 7 car dealerships in the area saying they “signed & bought their first new car” at each one probably hasn’t bought 7 new cars in one day. If the profile was created recently and has been mass reviewing specific types of services, that could be further evidence that this reviewer is a spam account.

Solution: Suspicious activity is something you want to note when dealing with reviewers like this, and if the account is spreading a lot of highly negative content, you can report the user to Google anonymously, and Google will determine whether or not the user’s profile is fake.

5. Generic profile picture and/or name.

Issue: If the name of the user is something generic such as “Bob Smith” or uses many alternative characters in the name such as “Frank2288%@”, then there is a chance that the name is not real. This is especially the case if the reviewer’s name does not match any of your customer records as well.

Solution: A way to spot a fake review is to look at the person’s avatar. If the person posting the review a) doesn’t match your records and b) their review history is suspicious, the avatar can also be a good point of reference to determine whether or not the review is spam or real.

Using the profile picture as a point of reference can be tricky as Google automatically puts a generic profile picture with a letter of the first name in your profile for new accounts. Many people won’t change their profile picture or will change it to a fake character (i.e. Spongebob) to maintain privacy. Spam accounts may use characters as a way to personalize their profile without giving any indication of who they are.

Differences between criticism and libel

Genuine criticism can be useful because it helps us realize points in the customer experience where we may be lacking. When a review has more negativity than constructive criticism, it can feel like an attack. An unwarranted verbal attack on your reputation is legally known as defamation.

According to the CJFE, defamation refers to harming another person’s reputation by making false statements about that person to a third party.

It must be noted that defamation law isn’t there to protect one’s pride, but is there to protect the reputation/offer restitution to those whose reputations have been wrongly damaged.

If someone leaves you a mean fake review online, that is considered libel because it has a permanent record of the defamation. Slander is also defamation, but with no permanent record or physical evidence - i.e verbal complaints, damaging rumours, etc.

To determine whether or not the review is libel or genuine criticism, you can go through the steps above to figure out if the review is fake and has grounds for removal. If you’ve determined that the review is fake and contains slanderous language, Google allows you to submit removal requests for legal reasons.

Negative reviews for business

It’s important to note that you should not take bad reviews personally. It’s just a fact of life that you won’t be able to please everyone, which will be reflected in your reviews. Negative feedback can highlight issues in your business where you may need room for improvement. At the very least, it can give you an opportunity to show your customer service skills by responding in constructive ways.

How to respond to criticism:

To respond to criticism effectively, you can do the following:

  1. Apologize sincerely.
  2. Provide direct contact information to the customer and emphasize that you would like to deal with the problem personally.
  3. Promise to fix the problem internally.
  4. Refund their money or give them a discount for the next time they return.
  5. List the ways you will address the issue, and the timeframe you expect it to be resolved.
  6. Ask the customer to remove or edit their review after you’ve personally dealt with the problem.

Here’s an example of a great response template to send to a reviewer when asking them to edit or remove their review:

Hello (Customer),
Thank you for helping us improve our customer experience with your feedback. We’re sincerely sorry your experience with us was negative. We are taking the steps to ensure that this problem will not happen again. We take customer satisfaction very seriously, and want to make sure that this issue doesn't occur again for you or any other customer. If there are any additional issues you would like to see resolved, please let us know, and we will work to resolve them right away.

We understand that your review of us on Google was based on your initial experience. We hope that with these changes, your opinion of our business has since shifted in a more positive direction. If that is the case, we would appreciate it if you edited your review to more closely reflect your present opinion. Customer reviews are very important to us, so we appreciate your feedback and we hope to see your opinion has changed towards the more positive.

Thank you again for your time,
(Company Name)

Ironically, according to research, a perfect 5 star rating can seem “too good to be true”. Across a variety of product categories, it's been found that purchase likelihood typically peaks at ratings in the 4.0 to 4.7 range, and then starts to decrease the closer the ratings get to 5 stars. So it’s completely normal to have a few negative reviews, as long as it doesn’t bring down your rating significantly.

In other words, an authentic Google Business profile should not be afraid to display all opinions from their customers, not just the ones that are preferred.

For a more detailed guide on how to respond to negative reviews properly, check out our free guide here: The Ultimate Guide to Responding to Negative Online Customer Reviews
Get more Google reviews

If all else fails, the best thing to do to deal with the negative review is by getting as many positive reviews to highlight your great service.

Now, this doesn’t mean to create a bunch of fake accounts and post as many good reviews yourself - that directly violates Google’s review policy. This also does not mean you can pay people to leave you good reviews either, as failing to disclose a paid endorsement is illegal. You don’t want to be subject to fines of $10,000 or more for illegal activity...


You can ask your happy customers to leave a review for you to boost the positive reviews rather than the negative. Proactively asking for reviews from customers can help you amplify the positive experiences and drown out the negative.

To learn more about the importance of reviews, check out this resource for more information: 10 Ways to Get More Online Reviews and Boost Your Google Ranking

We're here to help

At DemandHub, we recognise the importance of your online profile, and with our reputation management software, getting new reviews is as easy as asking over text. We’ll help you highlight the best of your abilities, so you can use your great reviews as your strongest defence against false ones. Not only that, but you can send out texts, review requests and more with DemandHub’s integrated inbox. Communicating with your customers has never been easier.

To learn more about what DemandHub can do for your business, read more about our capabilities here:

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